Friday, March 1, 2019

March Update: Moving Right Along

I had a productive month.

I have done All The Edits for Druid Wars except for a last copyedit/proofread. I also still need to polish the hell out of the first chapter or three to get it query ready. And I need to tweak my cover letter a little bit. But all of those things shouldn't take very long. I'm updating my agent query list so that by the end of this month, I should be ready to begin the query process. My top agent is still closed, though, so if I need to take some extra time, I can. I'm debating sending it off to one last beta reader even before the proofread to make sure I'm not missing anything. As kind of a final check. Even before I send it to my siblings.

Halfway through this whole process, I realized why it took me a year to dive into this. It's such an intensive process. I have to fully immerse myself in a world. I have to read and reread several times, look at it from every angle, and pick apart each scene and sometimes even sentence. It is hard work to edit a novel. It's even harder work to get a novel ready for querying. It's only the second book I've had to do this to. With MystWatch 2 and 3, I'm not going to do a line edit, a copy edit, and a proofread, as well as a crutch word pass. But those things need to be taken care of before I can send a book to an agent. Or, I suppose, if I were going to self-publish. Which, I've decided not to for the foreseeable future, so that's here nor there.

Anyway. A lot of the reason I dragged my feet on Druid Wars submission was because querying sucks. But it's also because I wasn't ready to breath, eat, and dream Druid Wars.

It's been different, though. With MystWatch, the more I read it, the more I love it. With Druid Wars, the more I read it, the less I love it. Rather than being discouraged by that, I'm actually heartened. Maybe querying won't be so brutal. I can take it less personally this time around. And as I mentioned, if I have to trunk this series, I will have fewer feelings about it.

That being said, I am not as fatigued as I'd expected to be after all that. And I'm not tired of the world. I even made some notes for book two. So I'm in a really good place with all that.

So now, of course, it's time to switch gears, and projects, to focus on finishing up my MystWatch trilogy. Time to edit book three. It took about four weeks over the course of two months to do about the same level of edits on Druid Wars that I want to get done on book three this month. And it's a longer book. So it may be tough to get it ready for beta readers before I hit the end of this quarter. But as long as I'm diligent, it should be close. Camp NaNo is next month, and I only need about 15k words to finish my current SP adventure, so I should have some time to finish it up, if I need.

One more month of editing, then I'll slide into a writing quarter. I'm nervous and excited. I've been thinking about Sally Prescott on and off the last month, so it'll be good to revisit her world soon.

In the meantime, I get to go back and visit all my MystWatch friends. I might even try to write the Shane short, since I did make a goal to write a short story each quarter. Although maybe I should consider writing a Druid Wars short. I decided which two I want to write. I don't necessarily have plots for both, though, so maybe it's better to wait. Also, there's no point in writing in-between-the-books shorts if the first book doesn't get picked up. I may anyway, just as an exercise, but I think my writing energies may be better spent focusing on other things.

At any rate. It's only been two months so far this year, but I'm happy with my pace and progress. Moving right along. Hopefully by the end of this month, MystWatch 3 will be ready for beta readers.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

February Update: Finally Stuff and Things

I realized in my last post, I didn't announce this, but I finally got my rejection from DAW. So, the MystWatch series is officially on hold indefinitely. Maybe one of these days, it'll make its way out into the world. For now, I'm just going to clean up book three for my beta readers and siblings, then I'm done with it.

I'm finally excited about the first Druid Wars book again. It only took a year after getting it back from my beta readers. But. I got the beta reader feedback incorporated. Now I just need to go through and do a line edit, then a copy edit, then probably one last proof, and it will be READY TO QUERY. It's really close, now. I should have it done this quarter, as I had planned.

I haven't done much to MystWatch book three, but I did add to a scene I'd been struggling with, so I can at least say I have touched it this year. I'd like to get Druid Wars off my plate before diving into it. I don't know if it'll take me all February to wrap that up or not. Either way, I plan to spend at least one whole month on it, and probably whatever time I have leftover once Druid Wars is polished.

I even dragged out the literary agent list I compiled last year for it. I've updated it a bit, and even checked on my query letter. All of that is mostly ready to go, so yeah. I'd say I will hit my quarterly goal of having it ready to submit before Camp NaNo hits.

I'm nervous and excited. The querying process was soul-crushing last time around. This is a better, more marketable book, I think. Better written. A hell of a lot shorter. I'm hoping to get at least a few more requests for partials (maybe even fulls!). I'm not 100% convinced it'll be my big break, but I think it has a better chance than Hunter's Blood ever did.

And hey. Worst case? I trunk it and move on. I didn't make the same mistake with Druid Wars as I did with MystWatch. I didn't waste a lot of energy writing a second or third book, so I can let it go more easily. And hey. It took me about two years to get through all the queries I wanted to do with Mystwatch. By that time, I should have a my next book lined up to begin querying, if Druid Wars doesn't make it.

I know my yearly plan is rather aggressive, editing three books and finishing writing at least one. But last year I didn't manage to get these books off my plate, so I have to do it this year. I have these three outstanding books that have been weighing on me for years. Time to wrap them up and see where my next adventure takes me. The Order and Autonomy world? The Dante novels? Fractured Worlds? Hunker City? Something completely new? Only time will tell.

So far, the quarterly goals are working really well for me. Knowing I have three projects to work on over the course of three months is allowing me more flexibility in following my motivation. I never liked how when a month ended, I had to immediately try to switch gears. Knowing I just have these three things I want to get done before April helps me relax, knowing that if I really don't want to work on something, I've got something else I can slide in. So even though my plan is to work on Druid Wars and then MystWatch, I can swap them, if I so choose. I also would really like to write a short story this quarter, so I can sneak that in, as well.

I've got a lot to do over the next two months, and I lost a week to another cold this month. But. I think I'm ready to dive into line edits. I even told my sister that she'd get to read Druid Wars soon. I told her she'd be reading it while I was querying, but maybe I'll hold off and see what she says about it before I do that. Make sure it's really truly reader for readers.

One last item of business I wanted to mention. Neil Gaiman now has a Master Class on the MasterClass website. It's $90 to take it, and I think I'm going to. For twice that, I can have an all-access pass for a year, and take classes from James Patterson, Judy Blume, Margaret Atwood, and Dan Brown. It's an investment in my writing career, and that's pretty inexpensive for writing classes. It will kill my writing budget line for the year, but I never spend all of it, anyway. I think this would be totally worth it. Short of beta reading, it's been a long time since I did much to improve my craft. It might be about time.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Updated January Update: Revisions

That first post of the year is always a lot to process. It makes me feel a little overwhelmed, and I worked myself into something of a standstill, not sure where to start. So, only about a week after my accomplishments and goals post, I'm already coming up with a somewhat new plan for the year.

I mean, not all that new. Revised, a bit. And a bit more organized. Rather than just saying I want to get x, y, z done this year, I've actually sketched out a rough timeline, breaking down the year into quarters. This year, I've decided to set quarterly goals, alternating writing and editing quarters. I don't know why I had this sudden urge to make this distinction, but I've decided that it is important to my process.

So. First quarter is editing. I want to get a solid pass on book three done so that it's ready for beta readers. I also want to do the final push on Druid Wars so that's ready for querying before I start on SP for Camp NaNo in April.

Second quarter is writing. Start with Camp NaNo, then hit Chain Letter Choice hard. I may poke at it a bit during the first quarter editing months if I feel like writing, so I don't necessarily have to write 30k-40k in two months, but if I need to, I can.

Third quarter is a mix of both writing and editing. I'll start with another SP adventure for Camp NaNo in July. Then I'll probably spend a month or two with Love and Demons in Los Angeles. I may take a break to poke at Once We Were Witches when the autumn nostalgia hits, but that feeling is fickle, so I hold no delusions that I'll be able to write that for any solid amount of time. Besides. The Pandemonium series has been pushed back several times now. I need to finally dedicate some time to it, and taking a quarter to focus on editing between writing quarters is probably a good way to recharge my creative batteries.

Because then, fourth quarter is back to writing, with NaNo proper hitting in November. In October, my plan right now is to try to write a third SP adventure. Unless work is going well on Pandemonium, then I might keep working on that. Or, depending on weather and mood, I might write (or write more) on Witches. But then I dive into crazy writing month, and then December is...well, we've seen what December is the past few years. I call it my wrapping up projects month, but let's be real. December is hibernation month.

The other big change is that I've decided--for now, at least--to put off self-publishing MystWatch indefinitely. I got to thinking that it might not be a bad idea to wait until I find agent representation or get in with an editor at a publishing house before I decide what to do with MystWatch. Agents kept telling me book one was too long for a debut author. So, what if another one of my books gets published and does well? Would they reconsider book one then? I decided it might be worth holding off for. That way, too, Rachel has some more time to focus on her own books and business and not have to worry about me bugging her with my self-publishing journey. Quite honestly, as much as I fantasize about covers and royalties, the time doesn't feel quite right. Of course, the longer I wait, the more chance it'll never happen, I realize. It's a risk, but one I'm willing to take right now. I wrote the books. Even if nothing happens with them, I'm happy to have written and edited them. Nobody can ever take that experience away from me.

I'm slowly shaking off my January funk (where I was debating whether I even wanted to be a writer anymore--it's sure been awhile since I had that fight with myself!). These revisions, this more concrete schedule, has helped perk me up a bit. It doesn't seem as overwhelming, looking at it this way. I still haven't started anything, but I'm still not even two weeks into January. It's not a foregone conclusion yet. I just need to get to work. On something. At this point, I'm not picky which project I pick up. But I'm ready to get creative again. Process planning uses the other part of my brain, which I need to exercise now and then, as well, but writing about writing isn't writing.

It's time to get started.